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BACK PAY. Delayed payment of compensation for work performed and arising from arbitration awards or a grievance procedure regarding particular rates, errors in computation of pay, improper layoff, unwarranted discharge or current legal interpretation of wage legislation. Includes contract settlement made retroactive.

BACK-TO-WORK MOVEMENT. Return of some or all striking workers to their jobs before the strike is ended.

BAND WIDTH. The maximum length of work day from which an employee can choose the hours he or she will work.

BANK. The storage of parts. Bank withdrawals are reported at a later date in order to control incentive earnings at a particular time or to control efficiency performance at that time for non-incentive operations. Considered a falsification of production records in many companies, therefore, a practice subject to disciplinary action.

BARGAINING. The process by which persons or groups with partly conflicting and partly harmonious interests try to agree on a procedure for dividing available resources. Bargaining is likely to occur when each person controls resources desired by the other and a range of agreements can be made that will benefit both persons.

BARGAINING AGENT. Union designated by appropriate government agency, such as the National Labor Relations Board, or recognized voluntarily by the employer, as the exclusive representative of all employees in the bargaining unit for purposes of collective bargaining.


BARGAINING RIGHTS. Legally recognized right of unions to represent workers in dealings with employers.

BARGAINING UNIT. A group of employees in a craft, department, plant, firm or industry recognized by the employer or group of employers or designated by an authorized agency such as the National Labor Relations Board, as appropriate for representation by a union for purposes of collective bargaining.

BASE PAY. Minimum rate of compensation for a given task when performed by a fully qualified employee. May differ from rate paid during training or probationary periods.

BASE POINTS. Term used in job analysis referring to minimum point score value for a given evaluated factor.

BASE RATE. The amount of pay set for a given job or classification based on a period of time, exclusive of bonus, premium or differential amounts which may be added for specific reasons.



BASIC PIECE RATE. A set payment for a unit of production exclusive of additional allowances.

BEGINNER RATE. Compensation rate during initial probationary period or while learning a new job.

BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES. The sciences concerned with the behavior of men and women in organizations, especially social anthropology, psychology, and sociology, including aspects of biology, economics, political science, history, philosophy, and other fields.

BENCHMARK. A standard with characteristics so detailed that other classifications can be compared as being above, below, or comparable to it. Most frequently in job evaluation, benchmark refers to a job, or group of jobs, used for making comparisons either within the organization or to comparable jobs outside the organization.

BENCHMARK EVALUATION METHOD. A job evaluation technique in which the pay rate for a job under study is established by comparison with pay rates for jobs selected as standards or benchmarks.

 BENCHMARK JOB. A job or task accepted as a gauge for comparison of other jobs or tasks.

BENCHWORK JOB. A task performed at a table, bench or fixture of similar configuration.

BENEFIT. Compensation other than direct wages or salary. Usually includes holiday and vacation pay; health, disability and life insurance; social security and unemployment compensation; and pension contributions paid by the employer.

BENEFIT LIMITATIONS. The minimum and maximum restrictions placed on a benefit.


BINDING ARBITRATION. An agreement between the parties to arbitration in which the arbitrator’s award is final and binding upon both parties. Labor arbitration awards may be appealed to the courts if one of the parties to the arbitration believes that the arbitrator exceeded his/her authority under the contract.

BLUE-COLLAR WORKERS. Term for manual workers, usually those employed in production, maintenance, and related occupations, and paid by the hour or on an incentive basis. (See WHITE-COLLAR WORKER.)

BOARD OF ARBITRATION. A board usually consisting of three members, a union representative, a company representative, and an independent representative chosen by the union and management, who join together to hear a labor dispute.

BOARD OF INQUIRY. A board appointed by the President of the United States, under the Labor Management Relations Act, to examine and report on the facts and positions of the parties in a “national emergency” dispute. The term is often used for any board set up by a public agency to investigate a labor dispute. (See FACT-FINDING BOARD.)

BOGEY. A target level of performance usually based on minimum acceptable productivity.

BOGUS. A term used in the printing industry to designate typesetting work which is not needed for printing but which is required by the collective bargaining agreement.

BONAFIDE OCCUPATIONAL QUALIFICATION (BFOQ). An exception to the restrictions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) regarding discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, and national origin. Under certain conditions an employer may require a person of specific sex, national origin, or religious affiliation to staff certain jobs. The intent of this provision is to specify that there are certain jobs for which race, sex, or religion may be legitimate qualifications.

BONUS. Extra compensation paid for a specific reason. Unlike premium amount of compensation, may be nonrecurring and established by a wide variety of methods.

BONUS DETERMINANT. A factor which establishes the earnings potential under a bonus plan.

BONUS EARNINGS. Additional compensation over and above base earnings paid for specific reasons such as high productivity, low waste or defects, low absenteeism, employment anniversary, end of year, company profitability, etc.

BONUS PLAN. A formula or plan used to determine bonus eligibility and payment.

BONUS RESTRICTION. Limits placed on an incentive plan so that earnings come from extra operator effort rather than from technological improvements.


BOOTLEG WAGES. The wages above those at the prevailing rate or the union’s scale which an employer may pay in a tight labor market to hold or attract employees. May also refer to wages at rates below the prevailing or union rate which an employee may accept in order to obtain employment. (See KICK-BACK.)

BOTTOM OUT. A point in incentive plans where the incentive performance falls below the 100% of standard level and where the operator is guaranteed at least 100% of base rate. The point in which incentive plans are considered to have deteriorated beyond a level of usefulness. A term commonly used in the steel industry.

BOYCOTT. Efforts by a union, usually in collaboration with other unions, to discourage the purchase, handling, or use of products of an employer with whom the union is in dispute (primary boycott). When such action is extended to another company doing business with the employer involved in the dispute, it is termed a secondary boycott (which is an illegal activity). (See HOT-CARGO CLAUSE.)

BRAINSTORMING. A problem-solving conference technique. Participants announce ideas as fast as possible and no one may criticize or evaluate them while the meeting is in session. The objective of brain storming is to make public the maximum number of possible problem solutions, useful as well as useless ones.

BREAK-IN ALLOWANCE. A pay or time allowance granted to an employee when learning a new job.

BREAK IN SERVICE. The time between when an employee leaves a company and later returns and is eligible for certain benefits.



BRIEF. A written statement in support of a party’s position which is submitted to an arbitrator or court either before or after the hearing.


BUMPING. Practice that allows a senior employee (in seniority ranking or length of service) to displace a junior employee in another job or department during a layoff or reduction in force.


BUREAU OF NATIONAL AFFAIRS, INC. (BNA). A commercial non-governmental organization engaged in providing various types of reports and services dealing with industrial relations and labor affairs.

BUSINESS AGENT. Generally a full-time paid employee or official of a local union whose duties include day-to-day dealing with employers and workers, adjustment of grievances, enforcement of agreements, and similar activities.

BUSINESS UNIONISM (“BREAD-AND-BUTTER” UNIONISM). Union policy that places primary emphasis on securing higher wages and better working conditions for its members through collective bargaining rather than through political action or radical reform of society. The term has been widely used to characterize the objectives of the trade union movement in the United States.

BUY-OUT. In labor negotiations, the act of offering employees a lump sum money settlement to surrender employment rights.

BYLAWS. Generally, provisions supplementing charters or constitutions of unions or other organizations, setting forth the rules for the organization.

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